Latest Public Sector News

20.08.13

Over-70s to be eligible for jury service

The upper age limit for jurors in England and Wales is to be raised from 70 to 75, the Ministry of Justice has announced. The move would make the justice system more inclusive, and reflect increased life expectancy, the Government said.

Currently only 18-70 year olds are eligible for jury service, although those aged 70-75 are expected to serve unless they have a good reason not to. The new legislation will see those over 70 treated like all other jurors.

Exceptions could still be made for significant medical conditions, or caring responsibilities.

Justice minister Damian Green said: “This is about harnessing the knowledge and life experiences of a group of people who can offer significant benefits to the court process.”

In 2010, the Council of Circuit Judges had warned against increasing the age limit for jurors: “There would, inevitably, be an increase in ‘days lost’ as a result of illness or incapacity. Proceedings might be hampered by poor hearing, poor vision or physical disability.”

But elderly people’s groups have welcomed the move. Paul Green, director of Saga, said: “Older people have a great deal of life experience and many remain astute, savvy and mentally agile well into later life and will be a valued addition to any jury. This is a common sense reform and should be applauded.”

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